My Nostalgia – Contemporary Chinese Music Masterpiece
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Best of Chinese contemporary music ?
Composed in 1937 by Ma Si-Cong, this music is considered as one of the earliest and best contemporary Chinese music. Although it’s not as famous as the other two, this music, together with “Moon reflected on Second Spring” and “Butterfly Lovers”, was often introduced as the representatives of Chinese contemporary music.
For the Chinese people overseas (for whatever reason, immigrants, study, travel, etc.), this music is particularly touching, not only because its name, its sorrowful tunes, its homesick topic, but also because a true story associated with the composer of this music.
Fate of the composer – a legend told by the music
Ma Si-Cong, born in 1912, “the first violinist in China”, wrote this music in 1937 based on a popular Mongolian folksong. He was one of the best musicians in China and was assigned as the first president of China Conservatory of Music established in 1949.
When the CR started in 1966, lots of academicians became victims of political turmoil and repression, including Ma. On 1967.1.15, the Ma family secretly fled to Hong Kong then USA with friend’s help. In 1968, the government claimed him as “national betrayal” until 1985 (after CR). But it was too late. He died in USA in 1987.
In his 20 years in US, he never accepted money from US government and earned his living by performing worldwide. In his concerts, one music is always played as his favorite – “My Nostalgia”. The great musician missed his motherland so much and could not return till the end of his life. 20 years later, in 2007, his family returned his bone ash back to China. The city of Guangzhou built a memorial park for him.
The patriotic national betrayal now finally came back to his motherland.
Given its Chinese name – 思乡曲, this music is often directly translated as “Homesick Tune”. Some people think that’s not a proper translation. “My nostalgia” or “A tune of nostalgia” might be better.
Comparing to Meditation from Thais by Massenet
I knew Meditation by Massenet earlier than My Nostalgia. They are both my favorite violin pieces. Although they express different feelings, I think they still have something in common, especially the beauty of music